Two Methods For Dealing With Negative People

“Relationships with negative people are simply tedious encounters with porcupines. You don’t have the remote knowledge how to be close to them without quills being shot in your direction.” ― Shannon L. Alder




The following is an article by a talented writer, David Cain, on his website Raptitude. Enjoy.

A recurring question I get from readers is, “How do you deal with negative people?” I’ve never directly written about it because I’m not always sure whether they’re asking how *I* deal with negative people, or how one ought to deal with negative people. I can only tell you how I do it. There are actually two ways I deal with negative people.

Method 1

When someone makes a needless negative comment, I feel a spike of contempt somewhere in my lungs, and my eyes probably narrow for a second. I give a terse answer, if one is required. My mind says to the person, “Why do you have to be such a dick about it?” but I don’t actually say that. Then once I’m out of their presence I tell stories in my head about how wrong they are, I play out imaginary confrontations, I might make a speech that nobody will hear. Or I think of what I should have said right then, George Costanza style. “Well the jerk store called, and…”
This kind of internal dialogue/monologue can go on until I’m interrupted by real life, but even then it sometimes resurfaces later. It sometimes makes the day a bad day.
With this method, the one thing I don’t do is do something. I do think a lot though. I think with great force and anger. I think up a storm, a real impressive one. I inventory my reasons for how right I am, several letters-to-the-editor’s worth. My body doesn’t do anything except maybe make involuntary faces. It’s possible my tongue moves, I don’t know. In other words, the first of the two methods I have for dealing with negative people is to become one.

Method 2

It starts out the same: person says something negative, and I feel that contempt feeling, but for whatever reason it triggers a different thought process. I do feel the impulse to go on an internal tirade, but I don’t. Instead I find myself recognizing that the offensive party is having a bad day or a bad moment that could just as easily be happening to me. Even if they’re having a bad life, that could just as easily be happening to me too.
It’s not quite forgiveness, it’s more like, “Ah I’ve been there. Frustrated and unreasonable. Directing it at people who don’t deserve it.”
Even though my knee-jerk response is to stare daggers, I’m reminded that people get negative when they’re unconscious, in pain or trying to protect themselves from pain. All human activity can be boiled down to a combination of seeking pleasure and avoiding suffering. Negativity tends to come from avoiding suffering, and if I’m being fair, it helps neither of us to blame them for it.
Pessimism shields people from despair because it keeps expectations low. Blame shields people from the threats of having to be responsible for a problem they don’t think should be happening. I have been caught up in both, at times today even.
When I use method two I end up feeling almost good towards the negative party. It’s a weird feeling if you’re not used to it. The pain of others suddenly becomes directly relevant to you, yet it remains theirs. 
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Shhhhh…. – Words can maim for life

 “Because even the smallest of words can be the ones to hurt you, or save you.”
Natsuki Takaya

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The tongue can set a fire no man can extinguish. The venomous stings it inflicts can break apart even the best friendships. Life and death are in the power of the words we speak. We’d do well to remember that when we blithely spout off the latest rumors, the latest dirt, about the ones we love. Don’t repeat the gossip, don’t listen to the gossip. Shhhhh…..

Also published in Wingposse Magazine, December 2012

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Unthankful – Provision taken for granted

 “People never remember the million times you help them, only the one time you don’t.” 
Unknown
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It never fails, when I extend to help

I get slapped back, when I’m all out
Makes me want, to never help again
Kick you all to the curb, it ain’t no sin.
Can’t you be thankful, for the plenty I did
Stop complaining, a little trouble within.
Why when you leave, do you have to cuss?
Didn’t sound like that, when you got off the bus.
Sweet sweet words, you spread it thick
Now when I’m spent, you don’t give a lick.
So take your stuff, and go down that road
Karma will pin you, when you’ve grown old.
11/22/11
                                        

Imposter – Revenge is not mine

“Everything I want to hear, or afraid to
Spoken with sweetness, I’m lied to
Clothed in harlot’s dresses, draw me close
Words sweet in duress, imposter I chose
Winking with sultry eyes, words conceal
My ruin never to come, imposter revealed”
– DMW

 

League

Sitting right next to me, I know what you just said. How can you just smile at me? What hardness must come over your heart to slide the knife of hatred and slander through my ribs, pushing deeper with every traitorous word? Taking joy in my pain, clapping your hands in my suffering, slow yourself down. Today it is my lot to take on these trials, but soon, my Judas, the dish of pain will be yours to savor. Your punishment will be sure as the rising of the sun; and gradual though it may be, the full heat of the day will bear on your life, burning the flesh of your cowardly soul. Joy is not mine, as it was yours, to see suffering, I wish for you to learn the error of your wayward tongue. Perhaps you will grow, or perhaps you will perish; karma has you pinned down now and soon you will see, with vivid detail, the writhing of a suffering a soul, for it will be yours only to bear that heavy load.

I Thought, I Became

“as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” – Proverbs 23:7
“I think and think and think, I‘ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.” Jonathan Safran Foer 
 
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I’ve heard the negative, dark words spoken in blind anger
from family, lovers, friends, and enemies.
Now, I can’t get them out of my mind.
They linger like stingers, long after the offender is gone
I feel the effects, no matter how I try
to think that it’s not possible to actually be
what they said.
Self esteem takes the hit, crumpling under the blow.
I take hold of myself and stand again
It’s only what I believe that will affect me.
I will not listen to those heavy things,
weighing me down.
Casting off the weight, throwing it behind me
I can stand, I can be whole
full and strong, standing again
in the face of life’s headwind

I am not what they say, I am what I believe.


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I Thought, I Became

“as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” – Proverbs 23:7
“I think and think and think, I‘ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.” Jonathan Safran Foer 
 
google

I’ve heard the negative, dark words spoken in blind anger
from family, lovers, friends, and enemies.
Now, I can’t get them out of my mind.
They linger like stingers, long after the offender is gone
I feel the effects, no matter how I try
to think that it’s not possible to actually be
what they said.
Self esteem takes the hit, crumpling under the blow.
I take hold of myself and stand again
It’s only what I believe that will affect me.
I will not listen to those heavy things,
weighing me down.
Casting off the weight, throwing it behind me
I can stand, I can be whole
full and strong, standing again
in the face of life’s headwind

I am not what they say, I am what I believe.


110411